22 Reasons to get Unstuck

1. Your health. That's an easy one-- if your body machine is breaking down each day can feel like a struggle. What if I told you that you can affect your health just by shifting your thoughts? 

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2. Your purpose. You're passionate about something. Either that something just popped up in your heart and you felt a pang of excitement, or you're shaking your head claiming you have no idea what lights you up. Either way, aligning your life with your passions & purpose is the fastest path to abundance. What are you waiting for?

3. Your authentic gifts. If you think that JUST YOU arrived to the planet without special talents you're a nut. If you haven't discovered them yet it just means you're restricting the flow, not that they don't exist. How amazing would it feel to honor your authentic gifts? 

4. Your family. Want to make a real difference in the lives of people you love? Fill your own tanks first so you can overflow. Be an example they can look to, not a critical voice. Getting out of your own way also invites your spouse, partner, children, parents, siblings, etc. to step into their personal power too. Are you ready to massively influence the lives of those you love?

5. Your community. Once you impact your family, they start to influence the people in their lives too. All of a sudden the lights have turned on in you, your family, their friends and family, the community, the town, the state, the country, the world. This is how we start a revolution! Change begins within you first. Did you know changing the world simply started with loving yourself first?

6. Your bank account. Oh snap, now we're talking. It's easy to think that 'rich' people are selfish-- but in actuality and by definition, if you're struggling financially and only able to think about yourself.. that can be selfish. When you don't have to worry about your finances you can start to see beyond your own situation and overflow into the lives of other body machines who need help. The only way we're going to change the world is if we all start to see beyond our own situations. How wonderful would it be to not have to worry about money anymore? 

7. Your love life. You attract what you emit. Want to find the sexiest, smartest, most loving, most outgoing, most charismatic, wealthy, healthy partner? You gotta be there first. Then, it's Law. The Universe HAS to reciprocate according to the energetic Law of Attraction. Life is so sweet when shared with someone you love-- ready to find them?

8. Your sex life. Intimacy is near impossible when you're in your own way. Confidence and vulnerability are prerequisites, and both of these are not characteristics of someone that's in their own way. This life is meant to be a sensual experience. There's no coincidence that orgasms feel good-- they're meant to feel good and you're meant to enjoy them. When you learn to relax and let go in your own body, you get a 1-way ticket to Abundance Land. And as you know, once you arrive to abundance land everything you want and need is within reach. 

9. Your deep friendships. Again, you can only attract what you emit. For the longest time I thought that friendships were a fluffy concept and that it made me 'strong' to be able to survive alone. Now I see that the quality of my friendships directly correlate to the heights in which I am brave enough to rise. You deserve deep love, deep trust, deep partnership-- and you have to be there first to attract those types of friendships. When you start this journey of self-discovery you'll become a magnet for others who are also on the path. How high will you rise with true friends by your side?

10. Your hope and faith. No progress can be made without hope and faith. Hope and faith allow us to believe before we see the 'proof'-- and, as we know, we're conscious creators so our thoughts of belief are the seeds upon which the next reality can grow. It's freaking hard to believe in a better life for yourself when you're stuck in the dark fog of Lack Village. How powerful would you feel if, regardless of your situation, you had a way to tap into your hope and faith to attract something new?

11. Your happiness. You know joy is my jam. I have such reverence for the power of joy because I lost my joy for a long time. I thought punishing myself was the path to success-- and not only did I dislike the journey, but I never reached my destinations. Happiness is available regardless of the balance in your bank account, your relationship status, or the number on the scale. So often we toss our happiness away to other people and things, are you ready to reclaim your happiness?

12. Your clarity. I can be broke AF, sick, tired, alone and scared shitless-- but if I have clarity about what to do and where to go, I can have hope for a greater tomorrow. Do you want clarity around your next steps and how to get there? Do you want to know how to get back to clarity when you're overwhelmed? 

13. Your time. We can't stop the clock but we can surely manipulate how we take up space in every moment. Most of us feel victim to our schedule instead in of a creator of our reality-- what do you wish you had more time for?

14. Your curiosity. There is so much to see, feel, taste, touch and hear on this magnificent planet. The more we explore, the more we fill our tanks with the majesty of pure existence. Curiosity is the fuel for continued growth and expansion. What are you missing out on?

15. Your confidence. Self-esteem and empowerment provide the foundation for so much of *the good stuff*. When you're confidence in who you BE (not what you do), deep connection is available to and with the nouns you love. When you emit power, you attract back the biggest, boldest manifestations you desire. What could you accomplish if you believed in yourself?

16. Your quality of sleep. A good night's sleep can greatly influence the quality of your days. When you trust yourself and the big U, there's no need for sleepless nights. 

17. Your energy. The stakes are high-- you're manifesting more of what you're emitting. If you want to keep attracting more of what is, then by all means-- carry on! If you're ready for something new, you must think and be something new. What do you want to attract? How do you want to feel? 

18. Your vitality. Feeling sluggish and foggy has become an expectation because we've been taught that life is hard and exhausting. Really, you're sluggish because you're swimming upstream. When you start to flow with the current, tiredness is a result of a life well lived, not a habitual result regardless of how much you sleep. How would it feel to have loads of energy to give to your work, your partner, your children and/or your passions?

19. Your trust. 'Titanium trust' (as my friend Amber calls is) is the most powerful component for change. Learning to believe before you see is the only way to create something new. What do you trust? Do you trust yourself?

20. Your new opportunities. If you are no longer an energetic match for your reality, new opportunities will pour in. If you're ready to receive, the Universe will flood you with new people, places and things that match your greatest desires. It's only when we restrict our possibilities that the opportunities cease to present themselves. What new opportunities do you want to see in your life? 

21. Your impact. Whether you positively effect one person or 1 billion people in your lifetime, your influence is invaluable. How do you want to impact your family? How do you want to impact your community? How do you want to impact humanity? 

22. YOU! There is only one of you that'll ever exist on this planet in the history of humanity. You were born to reach your highest heights and the only thing stopping you from taking the first step right now is... you. The great news is all you have to do is make the choice to surrender and all will start shifting.


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TORY DUBE is a Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Certified Life Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She is the founder of Tory Dube Holistic Health (formerly 'Hotchickpea', founded in NYC). Tory writes for several health publications, is a children's book author, hosts international wellness retreats, and works with clients around the world. Follow her here: www.torydube.com

Step into the fire of your Heart

It's far better to live your own path imperfectly, than to live another’s perfectly.

― The Bhagavad Gita

 

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I believe we are all seeking more liberation.

We want to be free from oppressive energies and have a healthy sense of autonomy to express our individual nature with authenticity. 

We want to live a creative existence, connected to our passions to bring more joy and purpose. 

And at the core of our being, we want to live a simple existence, aligned with our own bodies rhythms and nature's cycles. 

These are some of the underlying Universal currents that pulse life with reason, meaning and well-being. 

They're a recipe that lead us to living a more fulfilled existence and awaken us to our capacity to live in harmony. Life is not meant to be an overwhelming game of survival with constant stress. At our essence, we are illuminated beings, born to thrive in every way!

Living from this place of harmony requires a deep commitment to our personal growth. We must stay open and willing, and hold the ability to self-reflect. We have to believe in ourselves and the magic of the Universe, to trust in the unconditional support that is always abundant within and around us. And with commitment and consistency, we are guided forwards one step at a time, and can expand into places we didn't even know were possible.

The process of personal growth is aimed at leading us to who we truly are, beyond any fears, doubt or limitations.

Our true nature is a loving, soulful being that has passions, pleasures and purpose. And our highest Self yearns to share our creative gifts with others to positively impact the world.

The more we connect to these aspects, the more we live in alignment with ourself and unique calling, our Dharma. When we move closer to this purpose, we become lit up - revitalized and radiant from an inner fire that burns bright within our Spirit.

Life becomes a sacred existence rich with opportunities for greater freedom... 

This freedom is felt from a deep connection to Self and the ability to make empowered choices. Our capacity to treat our physical, mental and emotional bodies with respect and love, directly impacts how we move in the world and our experience of it. 

I didn't know it, but when I first began yoga I was seeking greater freedom...

At the time, I had little understanding of my eco-system as a whole - I felt disconnected to my true desires, myself as a woman, and to my creative purpose. I felt trapped and lost living in a system I didn't feel supported by, and for a long time, reacted by defying everyone and everything that tried to put boundaries on me. I identified as a rebel wild child and denied my own inner voice, which so desperately wanted to be seen and heard. My teenage years were filled with destructive behaviors and addictions. 

And as unhealthy as this time period may have felt, it was exactly what I needed to awaken... 

In life, we will always experience situations that don't serve our highest Self (and will throw us out of alignment) in order to learn the best way forwards for the future. These parts of our journey are to be embraced and acknowledged as normal and very necessary. 

Often the moments we feel trapped, lost, and confused express themselves in uncomfortable ways to show us signs that we are not living in harmony with our heart. These moments have potential to be a catalyst for growth and transformation, if we listen.

When we do, we usually enter a phase of deep purification, which can literally feel as everything we once thought to be true is no longer valid. This serves as a clearing to make space for new information, ideas and actions to arise.

At 19, I finally listened to the signs of destruction and stepped on my yoga mat for the first time. I was opened to a practice which led me to more clarity and spaciousness. From this place I could better receive the wisdom my Soul embodied and hear the clarity of my inner voice who sang with desires to live an existence with greater freedom in my body, mind and heart. 

The pivotal shift came after I graduated University when I chose to learn more about yoga and explore the world. I wanted time to discover my own gifts, and the thought of job searching brought a heaviness to my heart. Instead, I bought a one way ticket to India to volunteer at a yoga retreat. I listened to what I felt would ignite my Spirit and as the Universe always provides, I was supported to expand into parts of myself I didn't know existed. My own values, dreams and health began to fall into greater balance and led me to follow a path of lifelong study, practice and teaching. 

But first, I had to listen within and take a leap of faith to follow an inner calling that burned bright...

And to be honest it was the first time I truly felt free. 

Ironically, I had only a few hundred dollars in my bank account, was living in a plywood hut shared with six Nepali boys and had a small backpack with some belongings. I had no idea what would come of the experience, but I felt immense freedom from making an empowered choice, guided by my own inner voice which sparked a new wave of enthusiasm, passion, vitality, creativity and love.

Fast forward years later, and my life looks slightly different from the outside in regards to my intentions, values and vision - however the practice remains the same. 

Each day I choose to see the opportunities of how I can live more freely, and ask myself the following questions: 

How can I nourish my body and mind to stay connected to its wisdom? 

What empowered choices can I make to live in more alignment with my highest Self? 

How can I be of service to those around me and the Earth? 


Often the answers that arise are simple. They come as little reminders to follow my path, one day at a time...

My hope is that we all see the vast (and simple!) support systems available to live in greater connection with our own hearts.

Every moment is an invitation to receive our inner guidance, directing us to fearlessly take the next leap of faith and rise into who we are meant to be. There is never a better time than now!

May we continue to commit to our paths and aim for our highest visions, awakening the inner fire of the heart!


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

If not now, when?

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For too long I stayed small, in fear of the life I could live and who I could be. 

I denied myself of my power and heart truths by ignoring the inner voice of intuition, which so clearly knew I would carve my own path. 

Just like you, I am meant to live in alignment with my creative purpose and power. 

I want to love and be loved. 

I crave freedom and adventure, pleasure and play, supportive community and to impact the world positively for future generations.

I desire a connection with my Spirit and the Divinity that guides us all. 

But it can be challenging and downright terrifying to follow these values when we live in a society which normalizes the disconnection to nature, and condones a separation from other human beings. 

From a young age, the majority of us are conditioned and told lies that our authenticity and wildness is too much, our dreams are too big, and living in a space of magic and love is unattainable. 

But I’m here to tell you it’s all bullshit. 

In my 29 short years in this body, I’ve learned that there are many illusions which don’t serve me. 

It’s required me to cut away familiarity and comforts to uncover the depths of what my own version of health, abundance and joy is. 

It asks me to stand strong in my values, despite what anyone else says, and it encourages me to be compassionate with those around me who may not understand my path. 

This journey continues to lead me to the deepest shadows within...but more often it continues to show me the most radiant light I can so beautifully shine with the world.

Many people, places and practices are to thank for guiding me further onto the path of Self-realization, however, I have to thank myself for first listening, believing and following my heart. 

Because the truth is no one can do that for you. 

You are the only one who can initiate yourself into the next stage of your evolution. 

The heart has to be open and the desire clear to move you through the next threshold of consciousness. 

It’s not always easy to speak and live your truth, but I promise it will be the most rewarding and fulfilling decision you’ll ever make.

I’m here to tell you that your desires and dreams do matter. 

I want you to remember that happiness is your birth right. 

I encourage you to peel back the layers to get to know yourself in the most raw, intimate way. 

I dare you to see and feel just how powerful, beautiful and creative you are...inside and out. 

While I believe time is infinite and we have many lifetimes ahead of us, I also feel that there is no time to waste in this precious lifetime. 

If not now, when? 

Now is the time to trust in and surrender to our own heart to support and strengthen the collective heartbeat of the world.


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Let your light Shine

 Photo by Micayla Jean Photography

Photo by Micayla Jean Photography

From my own personal journey and work around self development, it's become more clear that fear lies at the root of all our illusions. Many of us are afraid to step into ourselves and truly own who we are...our natural gifts, successes, failures and flaws...for the fear of rejection. 
So instead we spend far too much time hiding what we truly want to express, and play it 'safe' so we don't overstep and make others feel uncomfortable. 


But the truth is when dim our inner light, we turn down the lights on the entire Universe. 
The more we share who we truly are with the world and take inspired action towards living the life we've always dreamed of, the more we clear the pathways for others around us to do the same. And while it can feel scary, overwhelming and incredibly difficult to step into ourselves authentically (and own it fully without apologies, shame and guilt) in the beginning, the process becomes easier and easier. Every time you speak or act from a place of truth (love) you unveil a layer and feel lighter, brighter and supported infinitely. 


Your greatest gift to the world is your radiance. 


Let it flood through you and pour out of you to everyone who is fortunate enough to meet you on your path. Pave the way for truth, love and radiance.


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

The Core of Growth

 Photo by Alli Baltodano

Photo by Alli Baltodano

To be vulnerable is to expose and express parts of ourselves without hiding or suppressing them. It requires us to let go of the curated, perfect mask and is an invitation to show up courageously and authentically, with all of our flaws. It requires us to soften the walls of protection we have put up and to trust that we will be received with open arms by our loved ones, communities and the Universe. Although vulnerability often feels like we are taking a massive risk as we leap into unknown territory with no certainty of outcomes, it is the true catalyst to our growth and evolution...

The times we find ourselves most vulnerable and open to feel all of the emotions of our human existence, are the ones which teach us the most. Whether it's traveling outside of our comfort zone, transitioning through a relationship, launching a project, or sharing our story — these moments leave us raw and exposed. Yet through these experiences, we receive some of life's biggest lessons and find ourselves on the other side with more strength, clarity, courage, and wisdom...

The more we take risks and allow ourselves to be vulnerable throughout our life story, the more we heal and find freedom. This comes from the process of vulnerability — learning to have innate compassion with ourselves first and being able to let go of outcomes, building stronger connectivity with others as a result of sharing/living our truth, and from fully embracing each stage of our journey — acknowledging that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

The outcome of vulnerability leaves us empowered and awakened...it opens us up to more opportunity as we create healthy space in our lives to call in what is aligned, it sparks our creativity as we express ourselves in new ways, and continues to deepen our relationship to ourself as we further discover, accept and love our authentic Self, the one who is perfectly imperfect, always the student, and on a never ending journey of growth. 


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Set Yourself Free

 Photo by  Monica Justesen

For too many years I tried to fit into places and parts of society that didn't feel supportive. Phases of feeling uninspired and a loss of direction left me trying to fill myself up with material items, drugs and alcohol, and toxic relationships. These all left me feeling more disconnected, even though I appeared happy and vibrant on the outside (yes, I was awesome to party with, and even won the superlative of second 'biggest partier' during high school!) but in reality it was an illusion...

Deep down I knew what sparked me (travel and adventure, learning about different people and cultures, food, living simply and according to my own rules - a wild child at heart who was happiest barefoot in the tropics) but I didn't have the clarity to focus my energy in the right direction. I didn't feel I could truly live as my most authentic Self.

So I hid myself and identified with the false parts of me, and spent my teenage years living according to who I 'thought' I should be, until I began practicing yoga at the age of 19. It wasn't an overnight shift to sobriety and well-being, but it was the catalyst that excelled my own personal growth and evolution.

Yoga dropped me deep into my body, mind and heart and for the first time I felt the deeper sensations of life...literally high from the experience of moving my body with breath and focused intention. I was surrounded by women who were down to earth, authentic and empowered. My heart was awakened through the mystical traditions of the East that began to answer some of the biggest life questions, that I didn't even know I had...

My soul was sparked and it began to unravel into the most beautiful, raw, and powerful, journey of self-discovery and self-love. 

The practices that continue to bring me closer home to my authentic myself is what I feel called to share. These practices bring me back to what's important and what my values are. They give me clarity, balance and compassion. They help to form my inner compass and allow me to listen to my inner wisdom and truly live from the heart. 

My mission is to support others on their journey of returning to their highest Self through the practices of yoga and holistic living. I want everyone to know they are worthy to create their own life of freedom, authenticity, and love. 

No one is exempt.

It is our birthright to wake up and feel excited about life, and to share our gifts with the world, in whatever way, shape or form that takes. There is no one formula. We are individually crafted beings with a unique soul purpose - like a seedling, it wants to bloom into the most radiant version of you!

I aim to empower others to learn the transformational tools to sustain their health and happiness, in the same way so many incredible teachers and mentors have shown me. Often we are the ones in the way of our own growth and freedom. We put so many limiting beliefs and false identities on our stories. All it takes is one moment, to reach out for help, step onto your mat, take that trip you've always dreamed of, write the book, quit the job...to take the leap of faith and know that your heart wants to be free, and when you begin to listen to what you really desire, the entire world shows up to support you. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

A message to Change-makers

 Photo by  Alexandra Chan

We are the creators and change-makers. We are the ones who are birthing new ideas and ways of being in the world...we are the catalyst for a new consciousness. We are the ones who are fiercely stepping into our power to give voice to that which has been left unsaid, to remember the wisdom of our planet and ancestors, and to live in balance, harmony and peace.

It is possible and it is already happening, and most likely if you are reading this blog, you are a part of the shift. 

We each have a unique gift to share and are here now for a unique reason. Your medicine is needed in the world. Now is the time to step into your strength with grace, speak your story authentically, share your knowledge without expectations, and rise into who the world truly needs. 

Us change-makers certainly have days when we feel empowered, strong, centered and in our flow. Inevitably, we all have days where life hits hard with it's diverse spectrum of experiences and emotions. As change-makes, we live as receptive, open and vulnerable beings, tuned into the subtle energies and experience life in ways which are deep, sometimes dark, but always profound. We have the ability to see the lessons throughout it all, and remain present to the Universal guidance. As change-makers we serve for the greater cause - we are the ones who birth big ideas, projects, and events into the world. We are in a constant process of growth and transformation...we are reborn time and time again. This process is never easy and there can be feelings of defeat and doubt, sometimes we may even question if we want to continue on this path. When you find yourself in these uncomfortable spaces, remind yourself of your potent power and Divine wisdom that is absolutely needed to heal the collective...

Light some palo santo, make a cup of your favorite tea, put on your most healing sounds and hunker down with your journal. Ask yourself the following questions and then post it on your wall as a reminder of your magic...

What is your story of transformation? What is unique about your story? What are your ways to share it with the world? 

May this be a reminder that you are a change-maker...a healer, teacher, guide and creative who is wild and wise. May you express yourself in all ways and continue to dance through life, despite the difficult moments. May you remember that there is a tribe of change-makers who have come before you and have paved the way, may you honor and call them in. May you remember that there is a tribe of change-makers who stand beside you right now, may you know them and support one another. May you continue to be an inspiration for those who will come after you and leave behind a legacy that will encourage them step into their light. 

Let it be so.

 

'Your legacy is every life you have ever touched' - Maya Angelou


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Essential Steps to Personal Evolution

There are three essential pieces to all personal evolution: willingness, awareness, choice.

Seems like an unnecessary-to-mention first step, but willingness is like creaking open the door, even just an inch, to peek inside. Without the inch of openness, you’re not seeing anything on the other side. If you’re reading this novella, you’re already willing. Check off the box, friend.

Many times willingness is the hardest step. We’ve all been in a bad mood — and most of us rationally know that if we just change our mind to decide to be in a good mood, we’d eventually get there. But when you’re in the thick of it that’s an obnoxious notion, one that feels like overturning massive, misshapen boulders.

The first step to shifting is just willing to be somewhere else, to feel something else, to exist in a new way in this moment. Willingness can be silent, like taking a deep breath to garner the strength to not argue with your father about politics or deleting the phone number of a toxic ex-partner. Sometimes willingness sounds like a half-hearted yelp out loud, “OK, this isn’t working for me. I am willing to explore new options, thanks.” It can have thousands of different qualities, the one that matters is an openness to feel something different.

Once you decide to feel something new, you must find awareness around how you’re currently being and what you’re currently doing. It’s much easier to change the situation if you understand what’s actually happening. The trick to honest observation is the honesty part —there’s no room for victims here because victims don’t actually don’t want to change, they just want to validate why they’re stuck in the mud. And as a good friends (we’re already friends! I, like, love you), I can’t validate your need to continue suffering when there are so many other juicy options. Continually remembering and committing to honest observation will allow you to start noticing your personal patterns. Once you know your personal patterns, you can catch your BS before it starts to wreak havoc on your full ecosystem.

If you can’t look at your situation objectively, ask an honest, gentle, loving someone else to take a look with you.

And lastly, using the data you’ve collected during your honest observation, you’ll make empowered choices. Empowered choices aren’t ‘right choices’, because there’s no such thing. Empowered choices feel strong and distinct because they’re rooted in intuition and your commitment to growth. Empowered choices nourish the ecosystem, so they can never lead you astray. Empowered choices have enough momentum and promise engrained in their DNA that they encourage you to show up with both feet in the decision, without having to doubt whether it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, which usually allows the choice to be ‘right for right now’ merely because of your enthusiasm. A ‘wrong’ choice with lots of enthusiasm, authenticity and gusto can make for loads of learning — and that, to me, is a spicy right choice.


TORY DUBE is a Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Certified Life Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She is the founder of Tory Dube Holistic Health (formerly 'Hotchickpea', founded in NYC). Tory writes for several health publications, is a children's book author, hosts international wellness retreats, and works with clients around the world. Follow her here: www.torydube.com

Dharma: Live in Rhythm

We are each encoded with an individual blueprint which guides us towards our Dharma, or unique purpose, in order to create a life of deep meaning and fulfillment. The root meaning of 'Dhra' in Sanskrit is 'that which upholds or nourishes'. Our Dharma is found within our intrinsic constitution and is meant to be accessed, explored and shared with the world for the collective benefit.

The more that we align ourselves with our unique Souls purpose, the more we find ourselves living from a place of love, truth and power.

When we honor our Dharma our lives begin to flow with ease...we feel fulfilled, supported and guided by the Universe in a state of 'effortless effort' -- we cultivate potent relationships, are supported in our projects and find ourselves in beneficial situations which help us move forwards on our path through equal parts action and surrender.

It is through the embodiment of our Dharma that we live in Divine rhythm with ourselves and those around us...

The rhythm of the larger pulse, or Universal Dharma, is the flow of intelligence found in Nature through Seasonal cycles, the evolution of cultures, and pulsation of consciousness. It is the invisible connection and supreme vibration to life and all beings.

The two Dharmas are consistently interwoven like a colorful tapestry. The strength of each thread plays a powerful role in the beauty and longevity of the tapestry. Our individual Dharma (thread) strengthens the entire tapestry through honoring our unique gifts which brings clarity to our values and aims in this lifetime, and ultimate abundance through actions led with integrity and love. The thread of our individual Dharma asks us to step into our highest Self for healing, harmony and the benefit of all beings within the collective tapestry of the Universal Dharma.

The practices of yoga draw us directly into the heart and with steady commitment, move us onto the trajectory of Dharma. 

Do you feel loved, nourished and supported? Do you feel like you live in a state of rhythm or harmony? Or do you feel stagnant, stuck and unfulfilled? These simple questions invite us to reflect upon our life to see clearly when we are walking our path with truth, power and potency. 

Below are simple practices to allow your Dharma to reveal itself...

1. Explore Sacred texts -- Jhana Yoga or the 'Yoga of knowledge' offers the teachings of Dharma through intellectual study. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most renowned and Sacred texts from the Mahabharata scriptures, and tells the epic tale of Arjuna, a warrior who steps into his Dharma through the guidance of his higher Self.

2. Holistic practices that are nourishing, purifying and strengthening for the body and mind. Disciplines such as Yoga, Tai Chi or Chi Gong aim to bring you into your highest Self.

3. Surround yourself with people who inspire you or you aspire to be (those who are living their Dharma!) -- seek a mentor and build a close relationship in order to learn how they live their lives with skill, intention and integrity.

4. Joy, nourishment and Self-love! Step into actions, relationships and experiences that ignite and nourish you -- create a list of 20 things that bring you happiness and return to the list as inspiration whenever you need a boost.

5. Listen to your hearts desire. Integrate practices that dive deep into what your heart is calling for. Sankalpa, contemplation, reflection and journaling all explore your deep yearning desires and help uncover what is truly at the root of the desires. 

6. Meditation creates space in our mind and moves us into a space of calm, presence and love. This state of mind is vital for our intuition to flow and move us deeper into Dharma.  

7. Cultivate a Kula or Soultribe which create a platform for deep connection and intimacy. It is through our unconditionally loving relationships that become a mirror and help us see our gifts, roles and purpose. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

The Power of Stories

Myths, legends and stories are an integral part of human existence. Traditionally, in all cultures across the world, they have been passed down from elders to youth to share information and spread teachings.

As the listener, we are invited to become open in order to receive and to tap into our highest states of imagination and creativity. As the teller, we must be present, charismatic and clear in our delivery.

Stories are powerful when told with authenticity and from a place of love...

When these two merge, there is a profound exchange that happens between the listener and the teller. The story becomes the vehicle for transmissions and teachings, and allows the community to grow together through their shared experience of sitting, listening, imagining, creating, reflecting...simply being together. 

The mythological stories have awakened in my own practice over the past few years, and have become one of my favorite aspects of teaching. Through their wild characters (gods, goddesses, demons and everything in between!) and dramatic plots, they encompass the many expressions of humanity through the characters, emotions and circumstances. Like any story, the mythological ones from the Hindu tradition are meant to awaken aspects of consciousness within us. They help us to develop our understanding of yoga philosophy and of our own spiritual journey. These stories illuminate, inspire and nourish us, and provide a beautiful gateway to experience the teachings in diverse ways. 

However, the power of a story doesn't only lie within the context of spiritual teachings...

Stories remind us that no matter how the landscapes change (as they do often!) we are all here with the same challenges and desires. They help us to reflect and answer some of the most meaningful questions in life. They are a thread that has potential to weave individuals into a shared experienced as a community and forever impact them.

There are certain areas in the brain that become active and engaged (different to when we simply hear words/sentences) when we hear stories. The areas in the brain that are triggered, draw us deeper into our emotions in order to connect with what we are being told. 

A powerful story bring us directly into the heart. And just as everyone has a heart, everyone has a story...

I believe that we all have a unique, transformative and potent story to share with the world.

This story is our authentic, raw, sometimes glamorous, and often times messy path of who we are and what has shaped our values...what experiences lead us to this exact moment...what are the wisdom nuggets we've learned along the way, and how can we effectively share them with our loved ones, communities and the world? 

When we tell our stories, to ourselves in our journal, or to an audience in public, we begin to connect the thousands of tiny dots that make up our incredible Selfs. This process is an act of courage and of Self love. It requires us to reflect honestly on our experiences, without judgement, and with full trust that we are living the teachings that we each need to step into most badass God/Goddess version of our individual novel.

When we tell our story, we are reminded that all of the sweat, tears, pain, laughter, love and passion are incredible gifts of the human experience...

When we tell our story, we are empowered to become the author of our life. We see that our story can (and will) shape-shift, and we have the ability to write each chapter before it unfolds.

Most important, when we tell our story, we inspire those around us to also share their authentic story. This creates a ripple and spreads far through greater forms of connection, communication and healing that spontaneously arises out of the shared experience. 

So ask yourself, what is my unique and wild story, and who can I honestly tell it to? 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Tarot: In Sacred Conversation

Ask any holy person, any spiritual devotee, any psychic medium/intuitive and they will tell you the same thing - our spirit guides are always near. The Divine surrounds us as a constant, both internal and external. This source wishes to aid us in our awakening and is trying to communicate with us all the time. We are embodied as humans in the physical/material plane; this is our privilege. It’s how our souls are able to live out their karmic destiny and fulfill their purpose. However, we all know how easy it is to feel as though our clarity is obscured and our path unclear.

Our spirit guides exist in the cosmic/etheric realm and strive to communicate with us in a variety of ways. Even if you are resistant to the idea of spirit guides or the notion that there is a higher consciousness within us, chances are you’ve experienced (even if only once or twice) your own form of connection with this power, a time when you just intuitively knew what to do, or felt peaceful in the midst of a chaotic situation. Perhaps in a moment of extreme confusion you asked for a sign or a directive. Perhaps, while experiencing intense joy, you found yourself spontaneously giving thanks (to what? To who?) These instincts to reach out, to be in conversation with something greater, to give thanks, to ask for help - exist because the connection to spirit is real, even if in your day-to-day you operate more from a place of science and data (sidebar for a topic all its own: spirit and science are not mutually exclusive!)

For those interested in cultivating an occasional or a constant connection with spirit, tarot provides a grounding ritual and a shared language with those guides who surround us and offer illumination. I view tarot as a form of functional, solutions-based prayer. Usually when we reach out to spirit it’s in the interest of getting a question answered or lobbying for a particular outcome - I hope I get that job opportunity! How will I be able to manage my day-to-day life in the face of this unexpected financial crisis? Where will the money come from? I hope I will be prosperous! How can I mend my relationship with my estranged family member? Why do I struggle so much with XY and Z and how can I change it?

When we pray we may receive answers immediately or we may be asked to practice patience while we stare into the void of mystery and simply trust. However, when we bring our questions or even just our current state of mind to the tarot deck as an inquiry for more clarity or affirmation, we receive tangible messages from the divine right away. When we approach with reverence and openness, tarot becomes the medium for messages to be passed directly from ether into matter. As in all other areas of our lives, interpretation, perception, and discernment are important. It’s easy to get swept up in the drama of certain cards (Death! All the swords! The hanged man!) And yes - just as in real life, the cards reflect the full spectrum of our human experience - darkness and light and every shade in between. It's important to view each message through the lens of solution. Our guides exist to help us, not harm. They want nothing more for us than expansion and an upward rising trajectory. Trusting that the messages we receive are meant to assist us as we move forward on our path is essential for an effective relationship with tarot and with spirit.

A certain measure of channeling and psychic openness is useful and necessary if you are reading for yourself. If you are receiving a reading from someone else, it’s most helpful if you have a baseline measure of trust in the clarity of that person’s intuition. If someone is preaching doom and gloom and you leave a reading feeling anxious or defeated, and most likely something has been lost in translation. Even if you pull the home run spread of the darkest cards in the deck, there’s a message of lightness there - a healing antidote, a way for you to BE in order to move through the darkness in a way that is skillful and peaceful. This is our honor and our challenge - the only true constant is change. Your cards will always change along with the shifting consciousness you bring to your prayers and your readings. One day is full of darkness, the next full of light, and all is still well. This is how we live our lives. This is what the tarot reflects back to us, and this is how we learn to find solid ground through sacred conversation with the Divine sources that surround us and want nothing more for us than victory. Trust us, say our guides. Trust us. It is always perfect, and it will always change, and the conversation that serves our forward motion can be constant if we wish it to be so.


Marla Cinilia is a heart-based E-RYT 500 and a perpetual student of yoga, spirituality and mysticism.  She teaches and loves in New Hampshire and Maine.

Shakti Rising

The world is at a unique turning point and a shift in consciousness is felt on a global scale. From the rise of yoga with millions of practitioners worldwide, striving to live a more meaningful and mindful existence, to the recent movements for the environment and equality...more individuals are stepping into their innate power with the intentions of healing the world. While it's easy to focus on the mass fear, hatred and aggression that continues to take place, it's vital to bring our attention (and sustain it) on the love, unity and action that has been, and continues, to shape shift our future. 

Over the past year I have felt my own inner strength and authentic voice rising, and these past weeks have confirmed that I am not alone in these feelings. Women and men all over the world stood up for values that went far beyond politics...we gathered in celebration and expression of the desire for justice! We brought attention to the cruel separation of humans and the disgusting destruction of the planet. We marched, sang, danced, laughed, rapped and screamed our way through the streets while soaking up the passion and enthusiasm of our surrounding sisters and brothers. Whether we met in person or watched from our screens, the rise in consciousness is clear and contagious.

Ideas are more powerful when shared...and when love is the basis of those ideas, they are unstoppable! 

This is what Shakti, the feminine energy represents — she is a free-flowing fierce, creative, intuitive, receptive, wise and unconditionally loving energy that rises and expands in all directions. Many of us are channeling these qualities and stepping into our light...we are no longer afraid to say no to anyone else's ideas of how we should live our lives, and instead are honestly looking at what is soulful and truly brings a state of health/happiness to our lives. We are questioning why it is we are alive, and slowly finding the courage to follow our hearts desires. We are able to see past our own challenges and feel empowered and able to serve the world. We know that our individual transformation is absolutely needed for a collective transformation... 

This past week proved that we are ready as a global community to fearlessly and peacefully take action towards a more unified, bold and beautiful world backed by the qualities of Shakti for our future generations. There has never been a better time than NOW to rise into our power and fuel our intentions with love.

It's safe to say that every cell in my body is completely inspired, rejuvenated and full of hope. I feel my whole being vibrating and I have never been so proud to be a human, grateful to be a woman, and motivated to share my opinions freely. 

So this post is a thank you…

Thank you Universe for this precious life and the ability to transform.

Thank you to the millions of women and men who view and treat others equally and who aren't scared to call themselves a feminist.

Thank you for taking a stand against fear and limiting beliefs and continually stepping out of your comfort zone — even when you may be criticized.

Thank you for providing inspiration through your courage and for believing that together we can move move mountains! 

Warriors of the 21st century, you are heard, felt and needed...may we continue to rise with clarity, steady action and peace. 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Invite Love into your Life

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Love is more than a feeling...it is a basic instinct and a vital aspect of our existence. In the same way babies need love for survival, as adults, we too, need a deeper connection and sense of intimacy with others. When we think, speak or act from a place of love, our lives begin to flow. We find ourselves inspired and aligned with our work and purpose, our relationships become supportive and nourishing, and abundance seems to arrive in all shapes and forms. These shifts can feel like mini (or big!) miracles -- and the best part is that we have the ability to create them, everyday! A miracle is simply a change in perspective, which is related to a cognitive shift in our thinking process. It happens when we move from a place of fear and serve ourselves in the highest way possible, by cultivating more trust, gratitude and allowing a cycle of growth: reflection, acknowledgement, compassion and discernment moving forwards. 

This practice is most easily tapped into when we are nourished from within, through a process of deep listening and honoring. These moments of self-nourishment (in whatever shape or form they take) are healthy periods of gestation and integration. They are absolutely necessary for action, creativity and growth. 

Yoga encourages us to look within and build intimacy with ourselves, in order to self-nourish and channel more love into every aspect of our lives.

Through the practices we loosen and release years (even lifetimes!) of blockages (stress, trauma, etc.) that have built up, restore and balance the nervous system and become more aligned with our intuition and authentic Self. 

It is inevitable that the benefits felt in body and mind will eventually follow us off the mat and shape-shift the many layers of our existence -- most importantly they will open and strengthen the heart space to live with more courage, peace and positivity. 

The same way in which we build muscles in our physical body, we work to build energetic strength in mind and heart.

The more that we move from a place of love, the more easily we can cultivate it at any given moment. 

Our yoga practice is one of the many paths which heals and invites awareness to help us love every moment. 

Create more love in your life through a daily practice. Each time you arrive on your mat, set a Sankalpa (intention) to love deeper and more freely. Focus on one particular aspect of your life or create an intention. Keep the intention positive and in the present moment as if it is already happening.

For example: I am loved and can share this with others

Allow this intention to follow you throughout your practice through an openness of the heart through backbends. Start your practice with three gentle backbends and finish your sequence with three deeper backbends. Beginning and ending your practice in the same way will remind you of your intention.

While in your backbends, emphasize relaxing the body (especially upper back, shoulder and neck area) and breathe deep while maintaining the focus on your Sankalpa. You can devote each backbend to a specific person or aspect of your life that could use more love.

While in your backbends, visualize yourself shedding negativity, fears, stress and worries on the exhalation, and on the inhalations breathe in your Sankalpa.

Setting an intention and enhancing it through physical movements (heart opening postures) is a simple, yet powerful reminder throughout your day to keep your heart open.


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Awaken your Highest Potential

As we come to the end of another beautiful year, it is a potent time to reflect on our external and internal landscapes. Similarly to the way we approach our yoga practice, we must welcome this reflection with compassion, love and grace. 

It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the intensity of political events, social pressures or our own challenges we face on a daily basis. This is when we must return to our practice, our roots, which provide the brilliant tools of stability, observation, awareness and action. These techniques remind us that our we are bigger than these challenges, and that our highest aim and soul purpose is to continue (or start!) living a life from a place of love and authenticity, and with less judgement and fear. 

During the holidays, take time to immerse yourself in an abundance of loving company and home made delicacies -- and most important take time to nurture through your spiritual practice. Align with your most sacred self through rest and stillness. Observe what situations, relationships and experiences created sensations of nourishment, joy and love in 2016. Also, take time to acknowledge those that created stress, worry or separation.

Simmer within this awareness and vow to better serve yourself in 2017. 

For some of us that may mean slowing down and taking on less, to be more for ourselves and families. For others it may mean manifesting new projects or refining ones we have already begun. 

Collectively we can all agree that it is our birthright to share more beauty, joy, laughter and kindness in the world in 2017.

We must remember that all of these qualities are free and found within — it is our duty to share with integrity and passion our highest selves. The more we raise our individual vibration, the more we raise the collective vibration of the planet.  

A New Years wish for us all...

May we speak and live our truths.

May we follow our intuition.

May we all raise our beat and elevate those around us every single day! 


LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here

Make the Distinction

You've got a biological human body-- and it operates like a machine. Many of your responses are mechanical -- like fear. When you're in a situation that's outside of your small comfort zone, your alarms go off so you can find safety asap.

Then you've got a spirit-- a spark of light and energy within you that defies scientific explanation and cannot be replicated in a lab. All we know about our spirits is they're as unique as fingerprints, and the more we express our uniqueness in our lives, the happier, more peaceful, more in the flow we feel. We also know that this spirit acts as our 6th sense, our guiding intuition that helps us know where and how to be, and when.

How do we know when something feels 'uncomfortable' because of a biological alarm or because it's going against our guiding intuition? Learning how to distinguish between the two is the most powerful growth tool you could have in your toolbox.

Start here: Ask, 'Will I grow from this? Will this growth get me closer to my happy, my peace, my flow?'

If yes, your fears are just mechanical. If no, your intuition may be telling you it's not the right move for you.

Take time to reflect, listen to your inner voice and follow what your physical and emotional body tells you.


TORY DUBE is a Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Certified Life Coach and Certified Hypnotherapist through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She is the founder of Tory Dube Holistic Health (formerly 'Hotchickpea', founded in NYC). Tory writes for several health publications, is a children's book author, hosts international wellness retreats, and works with clients around the world. Follow her here: www.torydube.com

5 ways to Inner Peace

Inner Peace sounds big, and often we believe that to achieve a state of peace, we need our lives to be 'perfect'. We sometimes become disillusioned and feel that we can only achieve inner peace once we have accomplished something (that place in our practice, holiday or dream house/job/partner). We tend to believe that when we achieve something, do something or be something we will find peace. However, the truth is that we are always evolving...and will never stop evolving! We are absolutely perfect at every stage in our lives and have the ability to find inner peace, right here, right now.

Peace comes from within. 

When you find a state of inner peace, you are then able to reflect peace to the outside world. You pass your energy to those around you (often without realising) and can create a chain reaction of positivity and joy. This is crucial for the world to move into a place of harmony if we want a sustainable and global community and well-being for all.

5 ways to find your inner peace – right now: 

1. Make peace with your past

Whatever happened on your journey, make peace with it. That doesn’t mean that it's all ok and you agree with everything that happened. Make a conscious decision once you have moved through the emotions associated (anger, grief, jealousy, etc.) to mentally 'cut it out' and not to allow your past to determinate who you are today or your potential for the future. Try replacing negative thought patterns around a specific event in the past with positive dreams and visions you would like to replace that event with. Forgive yourself and forgive others. 

2. ME Time 

Commit to time with yourself. Meditate, paint, listen to music, do whatever makes you feel connected to yourself. This time is so important to nourish ourselves...we can only be happy with others when we can be happy with ourselves first. 

3. Authenticity

The only way to love, and to to be loved as the highest version of you, is to be truly authentic and be who you are. That’s a powerful statement and its absolutely true. You are unique and you are amazing like that. Share your uniqueness with the world in whatever ways you can express yourself - communication, art, fashion, service work, etc. 

4. Connect with nature

Spend time in nature, everyday. Look around you and appreciate any nature that you can find. For some it may be a vast forest and for others it's a simple garden in the city. Soak up the elements and energy. It's like a recharge for your soul and your being. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine on your shoulders and feel the earth under your toes. 

5. Move

Move in whichever way you can. Your body loves to move. Any type of movement will allow stored emotions in the body to release, as well as maintaining strength and flexibility. Think about the refreshing feeling after a yoga class filled with deep hip-openers or how releasing it can feel to hit a punching bag. Run to work, choose to take the stairs over the lift, take your friend(s) on a yoga date or dance for 5 minutes as you get ready in the morning.

By changing ourselves first we can make an impact, and by that change the world.


Nicole Dechow is the founder of Soul & Yoga and Soul & Spirits. She is adedicated and experienced Yoga Teacher, Yoga & Health Inspired Lifestyle Coach and Jewelry Designer. A lover of life, a mother, a beach life enthusiast and absolutely passionate about helping others to discover and live their full individual potential. Follow her here: www.soulandyoga.com

 

Travel for Compassion

Are you saddened by what seems to be an endless barrage of harsh world events in the media?

Well, it might be because you feel like a global citizen.

As global citizens, we have a tremendous amount of compassion for others we share the planet with.

Because we’re curious types. We’re travelers.

We identify with other cultures because we’ve experienced how they live. On their turf. 

Compassion is my favorite human trait. And I think traveling nurtures that trait. Another thing I’ve noticed; it’s typically people with wanderlust who radiate optimism.

We have a feeling that life holds beauty and opportunity for us. And that we belong to more places than we currently know. Life is beyond just our hometown...our home country.

As travelers, we leave the comfort and security of our kitchen to cook in someone else’s kitchen.

When we travel to a country, like France, we think: Oh, wow, their [insert habit/custom/belief] is so evolved. I think THEY have it right. (Or conversely, I don’t like this [habit/custom/belief] and I’m so grateful I don’t think like that.)

Would we have found the lesson had we stayed home? 

We, simply put, form new opinions based on information we gain from others. We're just wired like that.

For those of us with an insatiable curiosity for the world around us, we know that the earth is a very big classroom. 

Of course, books can teach us things (I read constantly), but somehow being in a foreign place can crack open our vulnerability. Vulnerability is a pretty good way to learn lessons that might get skipped otherwise. 

Travel = learning. 

Learning = becoming even more curious.

Becoming curious = compassion.

Compassion = a better place to live in.

I don’t know what motivated me to leave my small town in the dust with my backpack at 18 years old. My first time on the road, I felt as though I could do anything. It was a heady sense of freedom. I imagine you’ve tasted it before. I felt free with 400 bucks, a greyhound ticket to San Diego, (cheapest way to get to the Mexican border from Vancouver) a pair of Birkenstocks, two tins of baked beans and one too many tie-dye dresses. I was OUTTA HERE. (Although I learned my first hard travel lesson: a tin of beans is useless if you forget the can opener.)

Travel was my gateway to feeling free. It was my gateway drug to learning that choosing optimism over fear works in your favor (99% of the time. And the other 1% of the time it’s gonna suck really hard). The stuff I learned through my travels through Mexico, Europe, Canada, the U.S., Southeast Asia and Australia made me the person I am today. Traveling has shaped my life in a way that becoming a mom has. (Interestingly, they call forth very similar elements: compassion and patience.) 

With these feeling present, I decided to write and allow the words to flow freely. However, I almost didn't share this. I mean, who needs dime-store philosophizing when we see heart aching disparity. Extremities of rich/poor, safety/danger, war/peace, love/hate are all heaped on a big messy plate, no matter where we live. And we're forced to pick through and eat the bits that look good. It's enough to turn our stomach.

(Oh, and we don’t need to look on the other side of the world for problems: people in our own neighborhoods can’t even get along.)

I don’t pretend to be clever, nor is this political commentary. I just know that it’s impossible not to feel affected. Compassionate people are like that.

So in these times of intense change, when the uncertainty feels even more present than ever, this message is for you.

Whatever happens, don’t forget about your special capacity for wonder and curiosity. And hold onto your optimism like a life raft...even when it feels frivolous.

The world still needs people who believe better times are ahead.

Let all the goodness out there (there's still a ton) fuel the life you want to create. And nurture THAT. Don't delay that important work. And of course, keep your loved ones close. Call them or kiss them and tell them that they matter. 


BIANCA GIGNAC owns a heart centered travel company offering trips to Italy for women and creative workshops for entrepreneurs. She divides her time between Canada and Italy and is publishing a guidebook for anyone dreaming about a trip to Italy. Follow her here: www.italianfix.com

Soften to Expand

Twenty years later and I'm still refining my downward facing dog. I still check my alignment cues and look to learn new ways of teaching it. 


Despite that I've taught it thousands of times and practiced it even more, there is always something new. 


As teachers it is our role to be humble, to be a student, to keep ourselves open to the practice and teaching methods. Being an extraordinary teacher is as simple as being open, being kind and staying with your own practice. If you're missing any of those, begin the enquiry into what it is you need, delve into a process of of awe and wonder of what you do.

Find your inspiration. 


Usually when we are feeling guarded or rigid, something has gone awry and we are protecting our heart or ego. Soften. Know that you don't have to know it all. When we are humble, there are endless opportunities to expand our teaching skills. It's a constant journey of unravelling, peeling back layers and shifting layers to reveal an essence which is divine grace. 


So keep going teachers, keep shining bright. Be compassionate and honest with yourself, and if you don't know something-that's ok-but be honest about it. If a student asks you something and you don't know, research it and get back to them. If you're in class and not sure how to get that person to move their body as the cues you're giving don't seem to be getting through, then research different ways to approach the pose and person.


What we are doing is vital in the world we live in. Our society is stressed beyond belief and mental health issues are soaring. The world needs healing. Remember that each time you practice or teach you change the chemistry of the body. Energy shifts, emotions are felt, and tensions are released. The brain naturally responds to these physical shifts and the mind begins to slow down and relax. This is a powerful practice that continues to bring positive change to all those who experience it. Embrace your role as the guide with humility and respect.

Continue to share your gifts with the world and encourage others around you. Support the local teachers in your community and arrive in their classes as a student, with an open mind and heart and remember that everyone has something to teach and learn from one another. Release the ego and the need to be a pioneer on your own, because together we can go much farther and deeper. 
 

Let's support each other and come together to evolve consciously and adeptly. 
 


KIRSTY NORTON is a mama, a yoga teacher, a lover of life, and an adventurer. She believes we all have a gift to share. Through her teaching she aims to help you feel connected, grounded and spacious. She has created Yoga Luxe to give back to chosen charities and have a positive impact on the world. Follow her here: www.kirstynortonyoga.co.uk

A real woman

We have spent many years agonizing about how we look - whether our bodies are "good enough", how we can tackle "problematic areas", how to make our tummy look flat and skin flawless. How to become an object of every man's dream. Bombarded with airbrushed images of thin, stick-legged women, we have allowed to have our beauty standards defined for us and have been pressured into believing that we need to look in a certain way to be accepted. To feel beautiful and loved. We have learnt to subconsciously strive for the unreachable level of visual perfection and developed a number of insecurities along the way.


But times are changing again. There are more and more campaigns using "real women" - plus-sized models with full thighs and large breasts, big butts are definitely making a great come-back as well. The problem is, where is it all taking us? We're going through the same thing all over again. Telling women what they should look like. Why isn't there a single video of how ideal body shape for men has changed throughout history? Is it because we've been made to believe that men should work and provide financial security, while we should just look good by their side?


So, what does it mean to be a "Real Woman" in today's world? Is it really all about our boobs and butts? Will we ever stop viewing femininity through a lense of certain physical features?


Real Women come in all shapes and sizes. Some are skinny. Others are curvy. Each of us is born with a unique set of features which cannot be changed. But what we need to remember is that our body is just a fraction of who we are. And we should never be defined by how firm our buttocks are. Because we are much, much more than that. We have fire-y hears and wicked brains. We are seekers, enquirers, fighters and warriors. And we hold our heads high.

Real women don't strive for perfection, they strive for growth and transformation. They allow as much time for self-development and enquiry, as they do for sit-ups and push-ups. They don't make excuses, they take action. They don't try to hide their flaws, they don't try to escape from their issues and feelings. But instead of acting on them, instead of running away and hiding, they get closer. They accept them. Tame them. And then they let them go away.

Real women treat themselves, and people around them, with love and respect, with kindness and patience - just as they want to be treated by others. They don't judge and compete, they support and empower. They are their own best friends and teachers. Their own therapists. And they're beautiful, feminine and sexy, regardless of how they look.


And if they should ever care about the shape of their bodies, it's not because the body in itself is a goal. It's because they love themselves enough to care, it's because looking after their bodies is a means to health and happiness. Instead of growing muscles as band-aids on deeply rooted issues and insecurities, they dig deeper and get down to the root of the problem. Acceptance. Self-worth. Self-love. Non-judgement. Without these, no matter how beautifully-polished the shell is, there'll never be a pearl inside.


So, instead of redefining the ideals of beauty, let's acknowledge that there should be no ideals. Instead of telling women what they should look like, let's tell them that they look exactly as they should. Instead of pressuring them to fit into pre-defined norms, let's give them the courage and power to reject those norms. Instead of making them focus on their imperfections, let's help them see their own unique beauty and hone it, allowing it to shine through. Let's teach them how to get rid of all the insecurities and distorted judgements they've accumulated throughout their lives and how to approach their issues from a place of self-love and kindness, rather than frustration and disappointment. Let's help them be authentic and fix their injured souls.


We are all real women. Big and small. Skinny and curvy. And we're enough, so unbelievably enough. We just need to learn to believe it. So go ahead - stop, take a minute after reading this to pause with your eyes closed. Breathe deep and as you inhale expand your body and mind with positivity and gratitude. On the exhale, settle into the sensations of strength and beauty. Love yourself more exactly as you are right now in your perfect shape and your beautiful mind.  


MAGDA PROCNER turned her organised life upside down when she moved to India to follow her passion for yoga. This decision opened the door to a journey of self-discovery and spiritual exploration. Magda currently teaches yoga around the world. She is a strong believer in the power of smile and laughter, and always trusting your instincts and following your dreams. Follow her here: www.magsyoga.com

Todos Somos Unos

In the heart of Playa Tulum, lies a hidden sanctuary - eco-community and retreat center, Uno Astro Lodge.

The beachfront property is a complete sacred space - holding hidden alters with candles that burn 24 hours throughout the day, swaying dreamcatchers and mobiles, gardens with peacocks, simple cabanas and tent structure built into nature and a temple overlooking the sea...Uno is considered home to some of the most eclectic group of people I have ever met. It is a space where healers, musicians, holistic health practitioners and creatives collaborate. The atmosphere is always relaxed and well respected - when you walk into the space it's as if you can instantly feel the love and integrity that lies within its (wall-less) property. 

Spending only a little over a weeks time there, I was shown how transformational simple and mindful living can be. Daily rituals included yoga and meditation, eating high vibe foods, dance, laughter, sunshine and plenty of relaxation. We lived barefoot and enjoyed the ocean as our shower, the sunrise as our alarm clock and the full moon as our light. We slept amongst the trees with the sound of the waves crashing - and without electricity, mirrors or walls, it was if you could feel the layers of our conditioned and separate selves melt away. With less emphasis on the superficial and external aspects (that we can so easily become disillusioned by) we became more receptive and observant, which allowed space and time to dive deep into our practice and enjoy true connection as a Kula, a family of the heart. We shared some of the most intimate experiences without any sexual intentions behind them - looking eye to eye, extra long hugs, chanting, signing and dancing. We faced the people who stood before us, regardless of their age, gender or story. We truly listened and became empathetic to one another, and allowed our individual lens through which each of us views the world, to fade away - ultimately, leaving us with the realization that we are all one and the same.

Todos Somos Unos. We are all one. 

We hear this phrase often, especially in the context of yoga, however, the most potent teaching is and always will be the first hand experience...to live the truth so you can fully embody it.

By the end of our week it felt so clear, and so simple...the healing powers were within the kula! Although we each arrived with our own small stories and ideas on how we personally wanted to transform as individuals, the process really began once we set our intentions together and supported one another along the journey. There was no doubt that each one of us felt a stronger presence of abundance of joy and love as the week continued. Our hearts vibrational energy amplified and spread like wild fire. 

When you naturally feel loved, supported and empowered, we connect to highest states of consciousness with ourselves, the part of us that knows we are completely perfect and whole, leading us to overcome obstacles, fears or limitations. It was an experience that preserved my faith in humanity, especially amidst a current time of global fear and terror.

Although we have left Uno for now, I truly believe this week gave us the opportunity to see more clearly what the world needs -- communities, tribes, brotherhood and sisterhood that goes far beyond our own limited personal spiritual practices. Yes, we still need to show up for ourselves and loved ones daily, but most of all, we need to show up for the 6 billion 'strangers' that are really not so strange to us after all. We need to embrace each one with love, kindness and attention as if they were our loved ones. 

We can begin to manifest this change every single day through small actions. No one person, project or corporation is exempt. Today, we can actively stop using so many products, chemicals and processed foods...we can choose to turn off the fear based propaganda and instead educate ourselves on the local issues within our communities to make a difference...we can avoid competition and aggression by switching our perspective and choosing to align ourselves with those who share like-minds...we have the power to shift our vocabulary and eliminate negative words, encouraging us to speak and act from a place of truth from the heart...

This is how we will change the world. Small acts that will have a huge impact, when practiced mindfully across the world. Image 6 billion strangers working together in harmony... 

Our intention needs to move from a limited perspective (far beyond our small stories) and raise our standards of how we want to live. No one is forced to live a life that feels negative or constricted. It is our personal decision and human birth right to be happy and free from suffering. So lets get real with one another and question our personal realities...lets open up the conversation and explore new territories and push beyond our comfort zones. May we encourage ourselves to be love, to seek truth and freedom. 

Thank you to each one of the magical souls who spent time with me at Uno Astro Lodge...an experience I hold close to my heart and will continue to tap into. 


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LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here